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New rules: Area high schools adjust spectator numbers for sporting events and activities

Ruby Howell and Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
The Macksville High School girls basketball team took 3rd place at the 2021 Lady Falcon Invitational Tournament last week. Teams competing were Central Christian, Fairfield, Little River, Goessel, Burrton, Stafford and Macksville.  More spectators will be allowed at future sporting events in Kansas, as per KSHSAA rule changes.

As winter sports season continues into February, area high schools welcome good news for parents and spectators. Since the beginning of winter sports season, per KSHSAA rules, family members who have wanted to watch their kids play in inter sports have been severely limited. However, as of February 1, 2021, all home basketball game hosts will allow four people per player to enter the playing facilities. 

This may still seem limited, but small increments in spectators are what is needed to keep everyone on and off the court safe.  

Pratt High School Athletic Director David Swank said that basketball players, cheerleaders, and pep band students will submit a pass list to their coach no later than 24 hours before the game. Only the four people on the student’s list will be admitted to the game. If multiple players are from the same family, they will still only get four family members between them. For away basketball games, the same system will be in effect, only instead of four, it will be two allowed family members. 

For wrestling, Swank said it is more dependent on the tournament that is attended. Some places will still allow no spectators at all, while some allow up to two. At Pratt, the home District Boys Wrestling Tournament on February 6 will follow the pass list system with two allowed family members per wrestler. 

To keep everyone safe, no matter which game or sport it is, all spectators will be required to wear masks, and socially distance in family groups. 

Spectators may sit together with their own families, but need to be 6-feet or more apart from another family group.

Statements from the Central Kansas League  ask that spectators only stay for the game their player/student is participating in, and leave directly after it concludes. 

At Macksville USD 351, Superintendent Greg Rinehart sent home a letter to parents asking that winter activity guidelines be followed closely so that students might continue to compete.

“Please remember that our priority is to keep students healthy and in school,” Rinehart said. “Only with your cooperation can we continue to allow spectators at our winter activities. These guidelines are subject to change based on new [COVID-19 postitive] cases, gating criteria, and other factors that may affect our students.”

At Macksville, masks are required to be properly worn covering the mouth and nose at all times by spectators, socially distancing and sitting with family units is a priority, up to four spectators admitted per family for home game participants, visiting events  allow only two family members per student, concessions will not be served, there is to be no food in the gymnasium, no gathering allowed prior to or after events, anyone feeling ill or having COVID-19 symptoms must stay home.

Similar information is available on individual school athletic Facebook pages. Parents and spectators are asked to follow their hometown pages for more sports/activities updates.